Local Restaurant, Starvin Marvin, Making Waves With Its “Mambo Sauce”

Starvin Marvin opened in Gaithersburg opened in 1982 and was bought by the Foundas family in 1987. In 1990 the family opened a location in Wheaton that only lasted a few years. In 2009, a Frederick location opened and the Gaithersburg store was sold to two brothers who were longtime employees and wanted something of their own. Those early days at the Gaithersburg store in the 90s, however, were the inspiration for Starvin Marvin Mambo Sauce– the restaurant’s version of “mumbo sauce”, the red/orange tangy sauce made popular in D.C. area takeout spots for decades.

“Mambo was something we experimented with from time time in the 90’s because our Gaithersburg customers would ask for it, but it was actually in Frederick where our Mambo Sauce (found in the grocery stores today) began to come together.” Dino Foundas told us. “We worked with some of our dear employees to perfect the recipe that we’ve started to include in a lot of our dishes” (photos below).

The original sauce, Sweet & Tangy, hit the shelves in March 2022 and the new “Hot & Sweet” hit the shelves about a year later. Now, the restaurant’s popular sauce can be found in 164 Giant Food stores across the DMV and is available through Walmart and Starvin Marvin’s own website, shopmambosauce.com.




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